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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Fisrt Nations Team - Day Three - January 12

On Friday evryone was allowed to sleep in a bit because of jet lag. In the early afternoon we gathered the team’s equipment, loaded it on a hand cart and walked to the tram line which we rode to a local school. There the team did a cultural presentation to two groups of students.

The Team with one of the classes

A presentation of First Nations culture

At the school we were warmly received. The team did two one hour assemblies during which they shared about First Nations culture, life and music. The students and teachers greatly enjoyed the presentations. Afterwards the team was surrounded by students eager to speak with them, get an autograph, and a photo.

Heidi signing autographs after an assembly

After the school presentation we hurriedly packed the equipment and headed off to meet Pastor Dmitry from the drug rehabilitation center. At the pastor's meeting yesterday we met Pastor Dmitry who has planted a church in Nizhny Novgorod this last year as well as start a drug and alcohol rehab center. Dmitry invited us to visit the drug rehab that he has begun outside the city, and to minister to those who were going through the program. Dmitry had arranged transportation for the team and had also decided to bless us by taking us all to dinner at a local cafeteria.

Pastor Dmitry, Cheryl and Dmitry's wife

We learned that Dmitry has been in Nizhny Novgorod for about one year. Before becoming a believer he was involved in drug use. Christ changed his life, he attended Bible School and is now a pastor. In Nizhny Novgorod he has begun a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center and from this he planted a new church. His church has about 50 regular attendees, most of whom are new believers. This is a very impressive work for Russia where the spiritual soil is very hard.

The drug rehab program is very intensive. All participants must live at the center, receive counseling, attend Bible studies and church. Family members are also required to attend church and Bible studies. As a result people begin to come to Christ and lives begin to change. Dmitry says they have about an 80% success rate working with drug and alcohol addicts. Dmitry’s dream is to see more churches planted, people discipled and drug addicts set free from their addictions.

At the small center we were given a quick tour. The center is in reality a small Russian village house with several outbuildings, including a typical Russian banya, or wood heated sauna.

Two of the guys with our interpreter and friend, Sveta

Inside the Banya, which serves as a washroom/shower for the rehab
Cheryl in the Banya
A bedroom at the rehab center

We completed the tour and the team was asked to talk about who they were, and why they where in Russia. They sang a few songs, shared a bit about how First Nations people worship Christ and Cheryl gave everyone a gift of her music CD. Mike was asked to share a word with the group and he spoke about his passion for seeing new churches planted in Russia. He gave a strong challenge to these new converts to take up the challenge to reach their country for Christ by paying the price to plant new churches wherever possible.

After Mike shared there was a powerful time of prayer and worship. James Kellums was able to pray individually for everyone present and spoke an encouraging word to each person.

After more than three hours of ministry and fellowship the team packed up and rode back to Nizhny.

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